UF Men's Tennis Team after being crowned SEC Champions of regular season. Courtesy of floridagators.com

Gator Men’s Tennis Begins SEC Play

This weekend, the Gators begin SEC play with a match against South Carolina – one of their seven SEC matchups in March.

After starting the season with a loss to TCU, the Gators have since improved and are now 7-2. This Friday will mark the Gators’ first time competing at Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex since late January. The team has been playing on the road since then – namely, at the 2022 ITA National Team Indoor Championship. Now, the Gators are back home and ready to take on the Gamecocks.

https://twitter.com/GatorsMTN/status/1498336379331301381

The match against Carolina will be the only home game for the Gators for the next two weeks. It will also be the first game played at the Ring complex since recent renovations to the facility were completed. Here’s what you need to know about their first SEC match of the season – and their next three SEC road games.

Can Carolina Compete?

At the ITA Championship in February, the Gators fell to Texas in the first round, while the Gamecocks managed to stay in the tournament until the second round. Despite Carolina’s showing at the Championship, can they hold up against the Gators in Gainesville?

  • Leading the series: Gators (19 wins, 3 losses)
  • Last game: April 9, 2021 (W)
  • South Carolina’s season record: 11-2

Florida is undefeated at home versus South Carolina. On the road, the Gators haven’t lost to the Gamecocks since 2018. The two teams are also closely ranked – per the ITA, Florida is No. 5 and South Carolina sits at No. 6.

https://twitter.com/GatorsMTN/status/1499073498685263873

Battle at Lexington

Following Friday’s match, the Gators will head up to Kentucky to take on the Wildcats.

  • Leading the series: Gators (18 wins, 4 losses)
  • Last game: April 4, 2021 (W)
  • Kentucky’s season record: 9-3

Florida has not lost to Kentucky since 2017, and they currently lead the series by a wide margin. Per the ITA’s most recent singles rankings, UF has five players in the top 125 compared to UK’s three players.

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Defeating the Dawgs?

The following week, the team travels to Athens for a rivalry match against Georgia on March 11. This week, UGA secured the honors of both SEC Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week.

  • Leading the series: Georgia (14 wins, 11 losses)
  • Last game: February 20, 2022 (W)
  • Georgia’s season record: 8-3

Florida is 2-8 on the Bulldogs’ turf. However, the Gators haven’t lost to the Dawgs since 2017. Will they continue their winning streak – or will Georgia make the series record 11-15 for Florida?

https://twitter.com/UGAtennis/status/1499195690223915009

Traveling to Tennessee

The Gators are 4-5 against Tennesee on the Volunteers’ home turf. Up in Knoxville on March 13, the Gators will aim to even out that record.

  • Leading the series: Gators (15 wins, 10 losses)
  • Last game: April 23, 2021 (L)
  • Tennessee’s season record: 12-2

This team may be a tough nut to crack for the Gators – Tennesee is currently ranked No. 2 entering SEC play.

Florida takes a brief break from SEC matchups in their game against the Fighting Illini on March 16. Until then, the Gators have their work cut out for them.

About Sophie Goodwin

Sophie is a telecommunications major graduating in Summer 2022. She works as a host & Edutainer at ITProTV, and as a student producer, writer, voice, & sports coordinator for ESPN Gainesville. She is also a voice actor independently for various clients on a national level.

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